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The day we went for a run with Dame Jessica Ennis Hill

Blogging has offered me some amazing opportunities over the years, but this has to be the best. A few weeks ago, Vitality Move got in touch and asked if we’d like to train with Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill. Fast forward to Monday and there we were, huddled under a bridge in the pouring rain listening to Lia telling Jess not to run too fast in case she banged her chin.

The Vitality Move Fitness and music Festival

The Vitality Move Fitness and music Festival is taking place at two venues – Chatsworth House (9th July) and Windsor Great Park (17th September). Both events take the same format and have been developed by Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and DJ Trevor Nelson. The ‘hero’ race at the festival is the music mile.

This is aimed at participants of all standards and fitness levels and everyone can run, walk or dance a mile. This is set to music of different genres at different times during the day. Just to demonstrate how open this is in terms of ability, I will be doing it with Libby and Lia who will be 5 and 3 at the time. Even my husband will be taking part in the music mile despite having a permanently broken leg. Everyone gets a medal and a wristband for taking part too.

For more serious runners and walkers, there is also a 5km and 10km. I am hoping to take part in the music mile with the whole family, run the 5km with Libby and run the 10km on my own. There are other sports to try out too, including yoga. It is set to be a fun, exercise filled day!

A question and answer session with Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill

After a quick chat with Lia about running injuries, it was time for the official question and answer session. Jess was incredibly down to earth and engaging and was happy to answer all our questions. It was amazing to hear about her inspirational journey in sport. From a ten year old trying out sport to training a couple of times a week. Through to that amazing day during the 2012 Olympics when Jess knew she was almost certain to win gold. She just had to keep her cool.

Jess talked about the fact that now she has stopped competing, she can try out other sports. She categorically ruled out ever going on Channel 4’s The Jump though – and I can’t say I blame her! She was honest about the fact she didn’t miss the intensive training she used to do.

I was keen to talk to Jess about the way her parenting style might change with her second child. She explained that she thought she would do things differently now as their lives are different. Her son Reggie was part of a special time in her life when she was training for the heptathlon. He was included in the sporting environment and she is keen to make sure that her second child experiences sport as well and knows what she did when she was competing.

Training with an Olympian

Whilst we weren’t about to set up the hurdles and high jump and start training for the heptathlon, we were all up for a warm up and a short run with Jess. I knew this was coming and had originally thought I’d stay with the running group to run with her. But when we got going, Libby was determined to run all the way. Lia couldn’t keep up with Libby’s pace so I ran with Libby while my friend Nikki stayed with Lia. We then swapped towards the end and I finished with Lia. Libby managed to run the whole mile and wasn’t far behind everyone else at the end.

The day we went for a run with Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill. A training day involving running, HIIT fitness and a chat about heptathlon, sport in general and the amazing VitalityMove fitness and running festival taking place in Chatsworth and Windsor in July and September respectively.

After that, we headed inside for a HIIT class. As a total non gym-goer, I had no idea what this was. Actually I’m still not sure what HIIT stands for but I certainly had no idea what had hit me. It was tough. Libby joined in with the whole lot and took it all in her stride. And me? Well I did it, but I’m still aching three days later.

The whole day was an incredible opportunity and I can’t wait to get active over the summer. My aim is to beat my 10km time from before I had children when I run in Windsor. But most of all, I’m looking forward to the children being part of the day and competing in their own races.

Thursday photo 155, the day we ran with Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill
Please note, we were invited to attend this event thanks to VitalityMove.


  1. April 28, 2017 / 7:09 am

    Go you! What a brilliant opportunity.

    I love that Lia is giving training/H&S tips to an Olympic athlete! Very funny.

    Random pairing of names Dame Jess and the beautiful Trevor Nelson but sounds like an excellent idea of getting people to do exercise.

  2. April 28, 2017 / 7:50 am

    What fabulous opportunity! Really interesting to hear about the day and the event – sounds like it will be a good one 🙂

  3. April 28, 2017 / 12:43 pm

    This is amazing, well done ladies, puts my occasional joggle along the seafront to shame 🙂

  4. April 28, 2017 / 2:44 pm

    Well done to your girls, especially little Libby bless her. This sounds fab Nat, I love how it includes the whole family and the music mile sounds like fun. Alice and I ran the race for life last year and she loves it. Good luck that means you will be doing 15K!!! x

  5. April 29, 2017 / 7:38 am

    What an incredible day! It sounds like an experience you will never forget. Love that Lia kept up with everyone so well! It sounds like you’ve got a real little athlete on your hands there.

  6. May 2, 2017 / 12:53 pm

    What an amazing experience to go for a run with Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill. Well done to Libby for running all the way too. Windsor is not far from me – I will have to sign up for the music mile as it sounds like fun. I’m not sure Jessica will be able to manage a mile though (not without a ride on Daddy’s shoulders anyway!) but Sophie would be able to join in. I notice that Alexander Devine Children’s Hospices is one of the partners – they’re another charity quite close to my heart as Jessica’s old children’s nurse was an Alexander’s nurse x

  7. May 2, 2017 / 4:42 pm

    Hi Nat, what an incredible opportunity for you and the children. The Vitality Move Fitness and Music festival sounds like a fun exercise filled family day out too and I hope your husband manages the music mile with no problems. Dame Jessica always comes across as a down to earth person and I can’t think of a better role model for helping to promote health and fitness. I have a friend who is keen on HIIT sessions, I still am pretty clueless as to what they are too!


  8. May 3, 2017 / 7:13 am

    This is fab! Amazing that Libby managed to run the whole way, I bet she could outrun me! Fantastic photos of you all working out! 🙂 x

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